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Thread: Contact Printing Question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    New York
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    3

    Contact Printing Question

    Hi,
    I am just starting out with LF (8x10) and was wondering if anyone can advise on contact frames and your preferences for other equipment/material in this matter.
    Please direct me to other threads where this topic has been discussed, if any.

    Thank you in advance,
    Jan

  2. #2
    MIke Sherck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Elkhart, IN
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    1,277

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    For contact frames, definately pick one made of hard wood. Soft wood frames "shed" little tiny splinters onto your film and paper throughout their lives.

    Mike
    Politically, aerodynamically, and fashionably incorrect.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    7,695

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    Equipment needs are minimal. You need (1) a light bulb, (2) some sort of timer, I used a metronome purchased at a music instrument store for about $15, (3) a flat surface underneath the light source on which to place the frame (or you can just use two pieces of glass with the negative and paper sandwiched in between), and (4) a piece of mat board cut a few inches larger than your negative and paper. After you have the paper and negative in the frame or in between the pieces of glass (in the dark obviously) cover the negative and paper with the mat board and turn on the light. Start the timer and simultaneously pull the board away from the paper and negative, count metronome beeps for the required exposure time, cover the paper and negative with the mat board at the end of the exposure time.

    You can get more elaborate if you want, e.g. you can hook your light source up to a darkroom timer if you don't like to count metronome beeps, you can use an enlarger as the light source rather than a household bulb, you can hang the light source in a way such that the distance from the light to the frame/glass can be altered depending on the density of the negative, you can buy an expensive contact printing frame instead of using two sheets of glass, etc. etc. But you don't really need to do any of that.

    If you buy a frame a guy named Doug Kennedy (Google on his name) used to make some really nice ones that I owned, I also understand the ones that Bostick and Sullivan sells are very nice too and there used to be a company called Great Basin something or other that made nice frames. I preferred a frame that had metal clamps on the back to insure that the negative maintains even contact with the paper all the way around. If you search here using the term "contact printing" or something like that you can get lots more information.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    California
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    2,468

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    Watch out for the cheaper contact printing frames. If it does not have a hinged back, it is all but useless for alternative printing. Bostick & Sullivan sells an excellent one. A good one is not cheap.

  5. #5

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    Maybe not for the beginner but the ultimate equipment is a vacuum frame. My timer has a built in metronome. 30 second exposures are nice for dodge and burn. Also see the AZO forum.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    1,043

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    I used a B&S Frame and just loved it.....until I acquired a vacuum easel. When you are making contact prints of 100+ negatives after a long photo trip, it sure is nice not to have to bother with all of the time it takes to load and unload a Contact Printing Frame.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    372

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    If you plan to use any VC paper you will need to use a light source that allows filters to be easily used.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    52

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    I buy, or did buy all of my contact frames at garage sales. They number more than twenty and range in size from 5 x 7 to 11 x 14. Some look like they have never been used while others look like skank. They all have split backs, cleaned up good, and provide excellent results for platinum or silver gelatine printing and none cost over $15.

    Tom

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    thanks everybody. this all helps.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    64

    Re: Contact Printing Question

    I owned a contact printing frame, but now find it easier to use a 1/4 inch thick sheet of plate glass with eased edges, sized 2 inches bigger than the print, or 10x12 for and 8x10 print.

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